Now that our Fantasy Football drafts are just about over, it's time to focus on the latest craze, daily Fantasy Football.
Fan duel, Draft Kings, Draft Day and many other sites now offer games that begin and end the same week. Naturally, I had money involved – and quite a bit of it. In fact, a lot of good players have gotten rich playing in the daily leagues.
WARNING: For every winner there is a loser. If you don't know what you are doing, stay out of the money leagues. There are a lot of sharks swimming in those waters, folks.
I'm one of them. Winning isn't a matter of picking the best players, because every league has some sort of salary cap that basically means being able to identify players who aren't in the upper echelon but who are primed to have good games on that particular week.
First, the basics: identify teams that are easy to run on, and/or pass on -- that is, they have weak defenses.
Keep in mind that teams that fall behind early tend to pass more as they try to catch up. Conversely, teams that have a comfortable lead tend to run a lot more, because it takes time off the clock (Note to beginners: an incomplete pass stops the game clock, while after a run the clock continues to run until the next play).
Next, identify hot offenses. Teams tend to click on offense when they have a new system that confuses defenses. It usually takes a few weeks before the league adjusts.
Let's take a look at Week One and see what match-ups look interesting.
Defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore opens the season in Denver, but the Ravens are a lot weaker this season. Conversely, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning is another year removed from neck surgery and had added Wes Welker to an impressive roster of receivers. Look for Denver to air it out.
Sean Payton is back as head coach of the Saints, and Atlanta comes to town in what figures to be a shoot out. Both quarterbacks, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan, should be on your fantasy radar. We especially like Falcons' receiver Julio Jones, and we think Stephen Jackson should put up good numbers. For New Orleans, TE Jimmy Graham is a must-start, and Lance Moore might be an affordable sleeper.
If your league had a "defense" play, take Tampa Bay against the injury riddled Jets, who don't figure to put up many points.
The Cowboys and The Giants square off in Dallas Sunday night, and that figures to be a shoot out. We think Demarco Murray, the Dallas RB, could go off at a good price in this one. David Wilson will carry the load for the Giants and he is also sitting on a big game. For a deep sleeper, consider Reuben Randle, the Giants third receiver.
Philadelphia plays Washington Monday and we expect the Redskins' Alfred Morris to get a lot of work – the 'Skins will want to take the load off Robert Griffin III, coming off a knee surgery.
Rookies will be undervalued the first week: Tavon Austin of the Rams has the ability to break off a big play, as does Giovanni Bernard of the Bengals.
Remember, the weather affects games. If it is rainy, the quarterbacks have trouble throwing. If it is windy, it's bad for QBs and for placekickers. If it's freezing cold, receivers have trouble holding on to the pigskin.
Obviously, you want guys who throw and score touchdowns. The best indicator is to check the under/over numbers in your local newspapers. Vegas knows what's going on – if the bookies forecast a high scoring game, load up on the playmakers in that game.
If you are new to daily Fantasy, start off in the one-dollar games. You're not going to win one of the big prizes being flashed about, believe me. When you start winning, you can gradually move up to two and five dollar leagues.
Remember: this is gambling and nothing more. If you have a problem, it can quickly become an addiction.
"Skippy Brown" recently won the Draft King Spring Fling contest, besting over 1000 other professional fantasy baseball players. For comments, tips, advice, rants, or just to annoy him you can now contact the Skipper via email: firstname.lastname@example.org